Monday, August 19, 2013

Election in Action

John records for us in chapter five of his Gospel an interaction that I think sums up the nature of election perfectly. We begin with mention of a pool in Bethesda.

Now the pool in Bethesda was presumed to have healing power, such that it was believed that an angel would touch the surface of the water causing a ripple. The first person into the pool would be healed. For that reason, there was "a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed" (John 5:3, ESV) waiting there.

But Jesus focused on one person: "One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, 'Do you want to be healed?'" (verses 5-6).

At no point did the man request of Jesus, "Please save me." Jesus Himself initiated the contact, having seen the man there. This one, lone man amongst the multitude.

We of course know how the story ends:

Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked (verses 8-9).
This single individual out of a multitude was chosen by Christ to be healed. Christ had the power to heal everyone there. He could have approached anyone.

But instead, He approached the man who had been invalid for thirty-eight years. He chose that man specifically and He healed that man specifically.

Furthermore, we can note that this healing was not based upon a condition the man met, not even in the man's response to Christ's question. For while it is true that Jesus asked him, "Do you want to be healed?" the man did not respond in the affirmative, but rather responded: "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me" (verse 7). In short, the man said, "I cannot be healed because I cannot get to the water."

But the water was not what could heal the man. Jesus could, and Jesus did. The man did not fulfill a condition in order to be healed. Christ simply healed him.

This is the doctrine of election in action.

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